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What are the Penalties for Possession of Marijuana in North Carolina?

Although many states have decriminalized the use and possession of recreational marijuana, North Carolina has not done so. Under North Carolina law, marijuana is still considered a Schedule 6 controlled substance. Although Schedule 6 is the least severe classification for a controlled substance, you can still face criminal penalties for possessing marijuana. It is still a crime to knowingly possess a controlled substance in North Carolina, including marijuana.

North Carolina Marijuana Possession Laws

In North Carolina, possession of marijuana can be charged by prosecutors as a misdemeanor or felony offense, depending on the quantity found in the defendant's possession. Criminal penalties for possession of marijuana are proportionate to the specific factors in the offense. The amount of marijuana will determine whether the crime will be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Additionally, whether this is a first-time or repeat offense will impact the type of charges brought against you.

The Penalties for Misdemeanor Possession in North Carolina

Possession of fewer than 1.5 ounces of marijuana will be considered a misdemeanor charge. Defendants charged with possessing .05 ounces of marijuana or fewer will be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. The penalties for a class 1 misdemeanor include up to 30 days in jail and/or a $200 fine. However, if the amount of marijuana involved was greater than .05 ounces but fewer than 1.5 ounces, the fine can be increased to up to $1,000, and you could face up to 45 days in jail.

The Penalties for Felony Possession


If you have been charged with possession of more than 1.5 oz of marijuana, you will be facing more severe penalties due to the crime being charged as a felony. A Class 1 felony conviction due to marijuana possession can lead to a full year in jail. Even if you were found with fewer than 1.5 ounces of marijuana in your possession, you could still face felony charges if you have already been convicted of possession of marijuana previously.

It is important to remember that North Carolina imposes mandatory minimum sentencing for all drug charges, including marijuana-related charges. As a result, the judge may not have the discretion to impose a lighter sentence on you based on mitigating factors. As a result, one small mistake of possessing a tiny amount of marijuana could leave you with a criminal record that follows you for the rest of your life. You could be facing time behind bars, as well.

Charged With Marijuana Possession? We Can Help

If you are facing charges for possession of marijuana in North Carolina, it is crucial that you take them seriously. You could face expensive fines, a permanent criminal record, and even jail time. Working with an experienced defense attorney can help you protect yourself and your rights. Contact Coastal South Law to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for you and your rights.

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